Attendees at the EURETINA General Assembly meeting on Sunday morning heard that Dr Anat Loewenstein (Israel) was elected as President Elect of the society by unanimous decision of the EURETINA Board.
Also during the meeting, Dr Martin S Zinkernagel (Switzerland) was confirmed as the new General Secretary of EURETINA, Dr Bart P Leroy (Belgium) was elected to the board for a first term (having previously held the position of co-opted board member), and Drs Reinier O Schlingermann (Netherlands), Nicole Eter, and Jens Folke Kiilgaard (Denmark) were re-elected to the EURETINA board for a second term.
Dr Loewenstein thanked the board for the trust they bestowed on her by nominating her as president elect. “I am very grateful to the board members. Especially today when we have such hard times in Israel, it is a very special day for me [becoming EURETINA President Elect],” she said.
In her last acts as General Secretary, Dr Loewenstein reported that the 10th EURETINA Winter Meeting held in Vilnius, Lithuania was a huge success with 427 delegates attending. She said the 2024 Winter Meeting will be undergoing something of a rebrand and will next year be held in Paris on an unconfirmed date and will focus on one topic. Details will be announced through the EURETINA website.
In his president’s report, Dr Alistair Laidlaw announced that EURETINA membership grew by about 20% in the past year, reaching 5,306 subscribed members – it’s highest ever. The membership roll saw a small decrease in the number of YOURS members compensated for by a large increase in non-YOURS members.
“Over 3,025 membership subscriptions have come through the YOURS initiative launched in 2017, allowing free 3-year trainee membership for under-40s,” Dr Laidlaw said.
“We are encouraging people to convert from YOURS to full members on termination of their YOURS membership and encouraging people to continue to join the society with various initiatives.”
Regarding the latter, a total of 304 new members signed up in 2023 under a new initiative that offered non-members registering for the Congress the opportunity to become members and take advantage of the members’ reduced Congress fees. Twenty-six societies have subscribed to the National Retina and Ophthalmology Societies initiative that gives members of participating societies a 20% reduction on 1-year EURETINA membership fees, and 124 members of those societies joined EURETINA. “This is an area where we can probably improve, and we are looking into that,” Dr Laidlaw said. He also reported that the mentorship programme launched in 2021 has continued to do well and is well funded.
“We are considering ways to increase the mentorship programme to appeal to the more general YOURS members rather than the research superstars in training,” Dr Laidlaw said. Closing the meeting Dr Laidlaw noted that the role of EURETINA president would be passed on to Dr Ramin Tadayoni at the close of the Congress.
“Dr Tadayoni will do an excellent job in further growing the activities of the German Society and the general activity of EURETINA,” Dr Laidlaw said.
He also thanked the team at Agenda for organising the Congress this year and over the last years. “Everyone from the top down has been incredibly supportive in running, organising, inspiring, helping, and growing the society,” Dr Laidlaw said.